The hype after the Chicago Blackhawks‘ acquisition of forward Kris Versteeg has yet to truly subside, and it more than likely will not until the Blackhawks’ next game tomorrow night against the Nashville Predators.
The Blackhawks will need all the offense they can muster tomorrow, as backup goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin will be in net, something which could lead to a high-scoring affair. Versteeg will not be paired up with anybody from the 2010 team just yet, as he will take over Jeremy Morin’s spot on the third line alongside Bryan Bickell and centered by Andrew Shaw.
What the Blackhawks need Versteeg to do is be a proverbial two-way player, something he certainly was with the team in 2010, but has not been while playing on an anemic Florida Panthers offense that ranks 25th in goals and 30th in power play goals.
Despite making a nearly worst to first upgrade, the change will probably be a drastic one for the 27-year-old Versteeg, who may now be past his prime. Injuries hampered his 2012 season, and have made an abysmal 2013 season worth more scrutiny than it would have before.
Despite playing only 13 minutes a night in Florida, Versteeg’s workload may be increased going forward due to the necessity on the penalty kill unit, where he would fit in next to Marcus Kruger.
Off the ice, the Blackhawks will have to pay $2.2 million of Versteeg’s contract, a substantial sum, but nothing that will break the bank. The more crucial component of the deal comes in what the Blackhawks gave up to get Versteeg, which was Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen.
Overall, that proves to not be much for someone of Versteeg’s talent. However, expectations should be curtailed. This is not the explosive 20 goal scorer who was a crucial part of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup run, but Versteeg can certainly still contribute and play the type of game that made him a fan favorite.
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